Arts & Entertainment

No bullfighting at San Fermin this year as activists call for end of practice

Pamplona, Spain, ??Jul 7 (efe-epa).- Animal rights groups on Tuesday celebrated the fact there was no running of the bulls on the day the San Fermin festival usually kicks off in the northern city of Pamplona.

AnimaNaturalis and PETA and Libertad Animal Navarra (Animal Freedom Navarre) all called for this to be the definitive end of bullfighting.

Activists dressed in red and white and sporting bull horns gathered in the alley beside the Pamplona bullring to celebrate the cancellation of this year’s bullfights due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Spain AnimaNaturalis director Aida Gascón read a manifesto in which she said Tuesday’s event had been organized “to celebrate life, to celebrate those who will not die, those who will not be mocked and tortured.”

Gascón regretted that bullfighting “is considered culture in the 21st century” and the manifesto marked the event as “a unique opportunity to leave behind certain privileges of the past, to build better normality, without animal abuse in our festivals and traditions.”

“It is not fair that such a rejected activity receives millions of euros each year and now the bullfighting sector is asking for even more aid, despite the rejection it generates across most in society,” the manifesto added.

“Public money must be managed now more than ever with the utmost sensitivity,” activists said, urging the Government of Navarre to “not allocate a single penny to the rescue of the bullfighting sector and that all its efforts be devoted to a collective benefit.”

“From today we ask for a better normality for animals, for all people, a better normality where music and hugs are the main things and the death of animals is just a bad memory of a dark stage in our history,” the manifesto concluded.

Participants at the event carried signs that read “No more deaths. End bullfighting”. Activists carried ‘banderillas’ (wooden sticks with spiked ends used to taunt bulls during fights) which they opened to scatter colored dust across the floor.

On Carlos III Avenue, next to the Monumento al Encierro — a sculpture that honors the San Fermin festival — members of the Libertad Animal Navarra group gathered to recreate a blood-stained arena.

An activist who was dressed as a bullfighter and wearing a clown mask swirled a red cape at an imaginary bull and finished the performance by tearing off his jacket to reveal the word “Killer” written in red letters on his back.

In a manifesto, Libertad Animal criticized the organizing of events aimed at “torturing and murdering, no matter who the victim is, because the suffering of a living being will never be a cause for celebration.”

Animal Freedom has demanded the end of bullfighting “because it is a cruel and archaic spectacle.”

“We ask for more aid for health and not for murder,” the group added.

Iruñea Antitaurina called for the city of Pamplona to “launch a debate as a city, a debate about the San Fermin festival without bullfights,” the civil platform said in a statement.

“Citizens have the right and need to reflect and consider whether animal abuse should be part of our party.”

The San Fermin festival is a weeklong event that takes place between the 6 and 14 July.

Rooted in history the folkloric event is most famous for its running of the bulls which begin early in the morning.

Ernest Hemingway thrust the festival into the limelight by featuring it in his book The Sun Also Rises. EFE-EPA

jr/ch

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